Move over, preening teenagers: byte-thirsty academics are now frequenting social networking hangouts like Facebook and MySpace. Hoping to snatch a dissertation out of the latest digital craze, plus a side of fame, they’ll all have to line up behind danah boyd (small caps intended), a Berkeley PhD candidate who’s become a “celebrademic” with her insight on social networking and its effects.
She’s already aroused the ire of her colleagues in the ivory tower. One snarled that her work, which isn’t peer-reviewed, passes off mere blog entries as scholarship. And the competition is sure to get even more fierce as the field becomes more accepted as a research subject: Just recently, the University of Michigan has added a “social computing” concentration, the Washington Post reports.